There's some things that hurt more in ministry than others. It's inevitable that people will not always be happy with me and that attendance is a roller coaster.
It's a bummer that some students inevitably don't connect with youth group and try as a I may, they find it's not a place they want to be or just don't fit.
While I don't love any of the above scenarios, I've come to live with them as something that I can't always solve nor am I always called to solve them.
However, the ones that I can't seem to shake and that cause me to vacillate between depression and angst the most are those who simply leave my ministry with little or no notice- especially when I was heavily invested with them or they were on our volunteer team. I was teaching today on division in the family of God in our youth group and how it hurts God, the family, and the influence of the church in the world. As I taught, I have 15 years of ministry and pastor-type conversations and I could fill pages and pages of broken funk in the church family, but the ones that weighed me down today are the ones that are the freshest.
In the last year or so, I've lost several volunteers and a few students due to changes in our church or some unknown reason. I'd love to know, but they often just walk away.
- two of them left with like a days notice.
- three left without ever having a face-to-face conversation with me
- when I call, several of them refused to answer and never returned my voice mails. I always quit after 3.
Perhaps that's what I'm missing. Closure. Without ever officially telling me what or why, or refusing to do anything about it via conversations in the future, or a refusal to see if there's a way to fix it has left me feeling like the family is divided and reconciliation is not an option. From where I sit, that leaves me heavy hearted and feeling like a failure some days. I don't think it's the Body of Christ at it's best. I wonder sometimes if it's even the Body at all.